In 2013, the number of shared notebooks in my Evernote profile increased significantly – both those I share and those from others who share with me. Add that to the rather large number of existing notebooks I keep just for myself. Things were getting out of control and it was time to reorganize and consolidate notes to keep things more manageable.
Then I remembered Evernote’s Saved Search feature. Instead of having individual notebooks for each surname or research topic, I now have one “Family Research” notebook and let tags and saved searches manage the rest for me. Here’s how it works . . .
Evernote’s search feature will search both the notes’ content and its metadata. Take advantage of the tags feature [I love tags!] to add any keywords relevant to this item – surnames, location, document type, etc. Doing these things as you create a note means you will have even more flexibility with your searches.
Now, in the Evernote desktop app, place your cursor in the search box and enter the keywords you want to create your search. The search panel seen here appears as soon as you click into the search box. It offers suggestions and tags to help create your search.
Once you’ve crafted the search query you want to save, choose the Edit > Find > Save Search command to save it.
Notice the Edit button to the far right of the selected saved search. Click it to adjust the search parameters.
This is also where you can delete a search you no longer want.
You can add saved searches to the Shortcuts section in the desktop app’s sidebar for easier access. Just drag it from the drop-down search panel to a position under Shortcuts. As you see in this example, the Henry Notes item in my shortcuts has a magnifying glass icon identifying it as a saved search.
Few items in my Shortcuts list stay there permanently. Things come and go as my priorities change. If I delete a saved search from Shortcuts it is still available to me from the search panel. I seldom have more than one saved search for a particular surname either. It’s often easier to edit the existing search, adding and removing parameters until I have the notes collection I want for the moment.
After decades of using organizational methods based on paper systems, it takes some effort to move to a digital system. Fortunately the developers at Evernote continue to provide some amazing tools which make the process of collecting and organizing our research so much easier. Now to adjust my mindset to take advantage of them.